Artist David Lloyd is probably best known as the illustrator of the graphic novel “V For Vendetta” with Alan Moore. Originally serialized in the early 1980s, the book found a wider audience in 1995 when DC Comics collected the series as a graphic novel. That audience grew even further in 2006, when a film based on the graphic novel was released, starring Natalie Portman.
While that alone would have made 2006 a busy year for Lloyd, that year also saw the release of his original graphic novel “Kickback” through Dark Horse Comics, a crime thriller about a corrupt cop on a corrupt police force who’s betrayed by his colleagues.
Lloyd invited CBR News into his Brighton, England home studio to show us where he crafts graphic novels like “V For Vendetta” and “Kickback.” Here’s David.
1. Music cassettes and CDs to ease the pain of being chained to a drawing board all day meeting deadlines. Not so necessary these days, when I try to make my own deadlines. Contains The Cure, Ben Webster, acid jazz, classics compilations, dance tracks, soundtracks – Jerry Goldsmith and Lalo Schifrin, then there’s Jimmy Smith, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Talking Heads. I could go on, but I won’t.
2. Work stuff or other things I’ve stuck on the wall because I liked it and wanted it by me at the time – or stuff, and people, I needed to be reminded about. Includes a copy of some famous life-affirming biblical quotations and words from Keats which the late, great, strip artist, Tony Weare, sent to me before he bowed out.
No regular updating on it, though. Last year’s calendar is still there. On the November pages…
3. Trash bin. For Things That Go Wrong, bad ideas, and – most importantly – bad reviews.
4. Anglepoise lamp. Needs replacing, but it still lights up, and I hate unnecessary waste. Thing is, I can’t tighten up it’s joints enough to immobilise it when needed, and it has a nasty habit of swinging down and clipping me across the skull when I least expect it. Maybe next time I won’t forgive it.
5. On the right – my paint box, which I’ve had since I was teenager at school. I’ve replaced some colours with new ones that I still have left from school supplies (I guess I should have returned them… ) but in the main, I top it up with color squeezed from tubes. This would not be the equipment of choice for most watercolorists, so it’s just as well I’m not most watercolorists.
6. The light from big tall French windows. The biggest plus of the apartment in general is how light the place is. The first time I came to the building, it was to check out the ground floor, which has windows that are half the size. Then I saw the first floor with its fantastic light, and bought it right off.
1. The drawing board. Couldn’t do the work I do without having that solid, steady surface. Some guys can meet their deadlines from an airplane tray table, or sitting at the end of a bar. I wish I could too, because that solid surface can be a hard place to be in more ways than one. It’s been a good workplace for 25 years, though – and weighty though it is, I carried it home from the office suppliers that sold it, stand included. Delivery would have cost more and I bought it when I was on a budget.
2. The balcony. Useful for throwing yourself from if things don’t work out on the drawing board.
3. A can of baked beans with a green “Metaphrog”/”Strange Weather Lately” label wrapped around it. I bought it many years ago from the man himself when he was selling these “Strange” items as a marketing device at one of the UK Conventions. Don’t ask me why it wasn’t peas instead of beans. Or soup, come to that. I was just happy to lend my support to him. And if I find myself with a shortage of groceries some day, it’ll be a useful survival kit.
4. Washing machine. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.
5. Don’t-take-me-for-a mugs.
1. Short tour of the food preparation area of the studio kitchen begins with the knives. These objects are rarely used for food preparation – their purpose is to act as a necessary aid in fantasizing about the disposal of people who become an obstruction to my ambitions. Frustration would get to me otherwise.
2. Instant coffee jar that now stores tea bags – yes, perverted, isn’t it? – except at the time of this photograph, I’d run out.
3. Honey. Essential for toast. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
4. The coffee maker just above here is broken. I tried to figure out why it had stopped working, but I couldn’t. Getting it repaired will cost more than just buying another one – so I should just throw it in the trash bin. Trouble is, I hate waste, so I want to get it repaired. But it’s economically crazy to do that, when I can just buy another and get rid of the busted one. And it’ll be crazy to spend another second writing about this here…
1. Framed pieces of the late Frank Bellamy’s art from the British newspaper strip, ‘Garth,’ which he drew for many years in the ’70s. He drew these strips big – each one 20″ x 5″. And he put several layers of indian ink on the art board so the blacks looked as solid as emulsion. He wanted his art to be as perfect as possible for the repro guys – and for himself, too. Unlike me, he never used white paint for fixing errors. He worked on CS1 art board, which has a hard, ice-rink smooth coating to it that can be scraped off with a razor blade. If he made a rare mistake or changed his mind about something, he’d scrape it away. The top strip in the frame here has evidence of such a change of mind – or mistake – in the complex lighting effect on Garth’s shoulder. I bought these pieces many years ago – the first time I’d purchased the original art of any artist I’d admired. Frank Bellamy was one of the greatest strip artists of all time. If you don’t know his stuff, check it out.
2. A serigraph of the private eye, Faccioni, created by the Belgian strip creator, Gerard Goffaux. You might have seen the US collection of the Faccioni strips issued several years ago, which was graced with a Mike Kaluta cover.
3. A Chinese sign I bought in a Chinese supermarket in Brussels. I don’t know what it says, I just liked the look of it it. It might say Happy Chinese New Year or Home Sweet Home or, maybe, For Stupid Englishman Who Not Know What He Buys. Guess I’ll find out some day.
4. Taking a break from music while I work, I’m trying to learn French, because I like France and the French, and this is a bunch of Linguaphone CDs that are helping me to do that. I’ve been studying it for years, battling valiantly against my low boredom threshold to persevere. One day I’ll succeed. I live in hope.
5 Just here to the right and not fully in shot is “The Shores Of Space,” a collection of 13 short stories by the amazing Richard Matheson – who was one of my earliest discoveries in exploring US fiction and is one of my favourite writers still. Includes the classics “Being” and “Steel.” Such stuff as dreams are made on.
6. Doorstop in the shape of a boot. Where I got the inspiration from for “Kickback,” of course…
1 Computer monitor. Cheap and cheerful and all I need for the limited amount of artwork I create on it, which has, however, been increasing in recent times. Why struggle to change composition and color on paper with brush and paint if you can scan the image and re-arrange it more easily on the monitor? And then re-arrange again if you want to. And then there are the special effects you can add for a bit of extra power or flavour.
When I got my first computer in 2000 – yeah, late, I know – I decided to get the cheapest one I could find that would do the jobs I wanted it to, calculating that if I threw it through the window in frustration during the first week of having it, it wouldn’t be a titanic loss. Luckily, my initial irritation with it was minor, and it became essential equipment to me pretty quickly. I couldn’t live without it now, that’s for sure.
2. Chair. Used to be used as an easy chair, but is now often a place of some difficulty, as work on the computer is not always as easy as I wish it would be. It’s been around a while, and those taped arms are not a design choice, but a device for holding back the onward rush of wear and tear. I asked for a quote to get it re-covered once, but the cost was as much as the price of buying a new one. It’s the old, hate-waste/coffee-maker problem again…
3. Two packs of printer paper. I usually use up one before I get another, which is the sensible thing to do. But I thought I’d run out, so I went out and bought another, and didn’t discover my mistake until I got back and lifted the scanner – that’s it, under the newspaper – to put the new pack under it. Now, I have 700 sheets that’ll probably last me until I’m dead. Unless I go into self-publishing, that is…
Thanks, David. Next Wednesday – Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon!
And be sure to check out any of our previous STUDIO TOURS you may have missed:
- Joe Quesada
- Scott Kurtz
- Frank Cho
- Rick Remender
- Matt Haley
- Simone Bianchi
- Mark Waid
- Tony Moore
- Top Cow Studios